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Avici, aka: Avīci, Avīcī, Āvīci; 6 Definition(s)


Avici means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

In Hinduism


1) Avīci (अवीचि).—One of the 28 hells—a structure with no support to stand on. Here are punished false witnesses and wrong givers of gifts.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 26. 7 and 28.

2) Avīcī (अवीची).—The fifth hell under the earth; torture by machinery.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 179, 182; 112. 11.

3) Āvīci (आवीचि).—A hell.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 6. 4.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

In Buddhism


Avīci, (B. Sk. avīci a + vīci (?) no intermission, or no pleasure (?), unknown, but very likely popular etym. ) 1. avīciniraya, one of the (great) hells (see niraya), described in vivid colours at many passages of the Pāli canon, e.g. at Vin. II, 203 = It. 86; Nd1 18, 347, 405 = Nd2 304 IIID; Ps. I, 83; Dhs. 1281; J. I, 71, 96; III, 182; IV, 159; DhA. I, 148; PvA. 52; SnA 290; Sdhp. 37, 194; Pgdp 5 sq. ; etc etc.—2. disintegration, decay Vism. 449 (a. jarā nāma). (Page 85)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

avīci : (adj.) waveless. (f.) one of the great hells.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

about this context:

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

is the name of one of the most frightful hells (niraya).

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

M (That which is totally devoid of pleasure). avici is the name given to the most painful hell.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

One of the eight great purgatories (mahaniraya) (J.v.266). It is ten thousand leagues in extent and forms part of a cakkavala (SnA.ii.443).

The Milindapanha (p.5), however, places it outside the sphere of the earth. Spence Hardy (Manual of Buddhism, p.26) mentions a tradition which says that Avici is seven hundred miles directly under the Bodhi Tree at Gaya. In later books, e.g. the Dhammapada Commentary, it is represented as being under the earth, for we are told that the earth opened wide to allow the flames of Avici to escape and to drag down sinners into its bowels (E.g., DhA.i.127, 147; iii.181). It seems to have been specially designed for those who had committed very grievous crimes, among whom are


Cunda, the pork butcher;

Ananda, who raped his cousin the Theri Uppalavanna;

the ascetic Jambuka, who in a previous birth had insulted an arahant;

the murderer of the Pacceka Buddha Sunetta;

Sivali, who in a former birth had blockaded a city for seven years;

Suppabuddha, who insulted the Buddha;

Mallikka, because of her misbehaviour with a dog (she was only there seven days);

Cinca Manavika, because she falsely accused the Buddha;

and Kapila, brother of Sodhana, for reviling pious monks.

For details and references see under these names; see also Mil.357.

According to Buddhaghosa, Avici is often called Maha Niraya (AA.i.376). Descriptions of it are to be found in several places in the four Nikayas (E.g., M.iii.183; A.i.141-2). It is a quadrangular space, one hundred leagues each way, four doored, walled all round and above with steel and with floor of incandescent molten steel.

The Dhammapadatthakatha gives a description of the tortures that await the entrant to Avici. When, for instance, Devadatta entered there, his body became one hundred leagues in height, his head, as far as the outer ear, entered into an iron skull; his feet sank up to the ankles in iron, an iron stake as thick as the trunk of a palmyra tree came from the west wall, pierced the small of his back and, penetrating his breast, entered the east wall. Other similar stakes came from the south and from the north and transfixed him (DhA.i.148).

The fire of Avici is so powerful that it destroys the eyes of anyone looking at it from a distance of one hundred leagues (A.i.142). It would destroy in a moment a rock as large as a gabled house, yet beings born there remain undestroyed, as though reposing in their mothers womb (DhA.i.127; Mil.67).

Beings born in Avici suffer for periods of varying lengths; thus, Mallika, Pasenadis queen, remained only for seven days (DhA.iii.121), while Devadatta is destined to pass there 100,000 kappas (DhA.i.148).

The Sutta Nipata (p.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

Relevant definitions

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Maha Avici
See Avici.
1a) Niraya (निरय).—A son of Bhaya and Mṛtyu.** Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 8. 4.1b) One of the s...
1) Bhāva (भाव, “psychological states”, lit. “feelings”).—Bhāvas are so called, because through ...
1) Kapila (कपिल).—One of the seven sons of Jyotiṣmān, who was a son of Priyavrata, acc...
Vīci (वीचि).—The name of a hell.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 2. 150.
Puṇḍarīka (पुण्डरीक).—Name of a lake situated on top of the Śikharin mountain range. There are ...
1) Kāma (काम, “passion”).—Almost all the psychological states (bhāva) proceed from “erotic pass...
1a) Naraka (नरक).—A son of Anṛta; another name of Raurava.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 9. 64; ...
1a) Yava (यव).—The food of Naimiṣeyas; havis of, in a śrāddha.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 1...
Bheda (भेद).—One of the twelve elements of the ‘introduction segment’ (mukhasandhi);—(Descripti...
Aṭaṭa, (BSk. aṭaṭa (e.g. Divy 67), prob. to aṭ roam about. On this notion cp. description of ro...
Jambuka (जम्बुक) is the name of a caitya (‘shrine’, dedicated to a deity), locat...
Avacara, (-°) (n. -adj.) (ava + car, also BSk. avacara in same sense, e.g. antaḥpurâvacarā the ...
Pathavi, see paṭhavi. (Page 408) — or — Paṭhavī, (f.) (Ved. pṛthivī, doublets in Pāli pathavī, ...
Ayo, & Aya (nt.) (Sk. ayaḥ nt. iron & ore, Idg. *ajes-, cp. Av. ayah, Lat. aes, Goth. aiz, Ohg....

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